New-look Brookfield Library reopens its doors

10-week project cost $375,000 to complete

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By BOB SKOLNIK

The spiffed-up Brookfield Public Library reopened on Monday after being closed for refurbishing for the past 10 weeks. The library looks and feels different. It seems brighter and roomier inside with a new, more open floor plan.

Library board members Carol Kissane and Judy Sweet were touring the newly refurbished library Monday afternoon and they liked what they saw.

Kissane has served on the library board for 29 years and she said that this new look is a winner.

"This is the third time since I've been on the board, and I think this time we got it right," Kissane said.

Sweet agreed.

"This is so much nicer," Sweet said.

The checkout desk and the librarians' desks now face toward the front of the 25-year old building instead of facing toward the sides. The interior feels more spacious and doesn't seem as barricaded down the middle as it did before.

"We've been creative in our seating arrangements," said Brookfield Public Library Director Kimberly Litland.

The refurbishing project cost about $375,000, according to Litland, about $50,000 higher than original estimate. But the scope of the project changed and more work was done on the floors, particularly the installation of new carpeting to prevent condensation from forming and making the carpeting pucker. More shelving was ultimately purchased than originally anticipated.

All the furniture in the library is new and the drab white walls have been painted in two shades of green.

There are 15 new comfortable upholstered chairs with an attached swivel desk top that are perfect for laptop use. There are two end tables that contain electrical outlets and 16 new electrical outlets have been installed in the floor to make laptop computer use easier and more convenient.

"I think people will definitely have an easier time using the laptops given the electrical trenching and the added outlets that went into the floor," Litland said.

Christine Oster was making her self at home in one of the new chairs Monday while using a library laptop.

She liked the new look and feel.

"It looks very nice so far," Oster said. "The laptop chairs are very comfortable. I was joking earlier that all they need is an ottoman and something good to eat or drink and you'd feel like you were at home."

Also new is a self-service storage cabinet for the library's 18 laptops. The cabinet automatically recharges the laptops when they are not in use. When someone wants to use a laptop they check out a key from the new circulation desk and then go to the cabinet to unlock a laptop.

When the patron is finished using the laptop he returns the computer to the cabinet. Laptops have tracking software that allows library to staff to monitor the location of the laptops at all times.

Despite the new, bright and more open look, some library patrons didn't notice much of a change.

One didn't even notice that the library had been refurbished.

"It doesn't seem any different to me," said William Walsh of Berwyn. "How long ago was the renovation? Gee, I'm really sorry. It looks the same to me."

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